It’s a beautiful, mid-July morning in DeForest, WI. The heat has subsided, the sky is clear, and Michal Feasel is surrounded by happy dogs.

“Today is a really nice day,” says Feasel, daycare supervisor for Green Acres Pet Resort. “It’s not going to get above 75, so we’re going to be outside almost all day, playing.”

According to Feasel, the daycare theme for this particular week is “Gone Fishing.” Green Acres guests have been having a blast playing with toy fishing poles and getting their pictures taken so they have that “big fish story” to share with their families at the end of the day.

Feasel joined the Green Acres team last November. She is currently enrolled at the CATCH Canine Trainers Academy and is looking forward to putting those skills to use at the resort in the imminent future.

Originally from Indiana, Feasel honed her animal caregiving skills in 4H, focusing on dog obedience and agility with her Beagle Maltese mix, Indiana. Before Green Acres, she volunteered with the Indianapolis Care and Control and the Morgan County Humane Society and partnered with a pitbull rescue to film a documentary on the misunderstood breed.

She now spends her days talking about dogs with pet parents and paving the way for successful daycare visits. She walks us through a normal day at Green Acres in just a few short steps.

The Daycare Introduction

The check-in process at Green Acres may differ slightly between new daycare dogs and the regulars, says Feasel. For first-time guests, “easy does it” is the name of the game.

“I always talk to owners to find out if they’ve been to dog parks or daycare programs before. I like to get an idea of what kind of interactions the dog has had with other dogs and with other people. Based on this information, I try to pair them with a dog that fits their energy and comfort level, and do a slow introduction.”

The entire staff at Green Acres has been extensively trained on Introductions that encourage confident, positive behavior. Team members watch for body language and polite interactions between dogs, and signs that the guests have compatible play styles.

According to Feasel, when the new dogs are calm and confident, they are welcomed into the main daycare group.

“If a dog needs more time, we’ll start with a very small group to give them more time to feel comfortable,” she says.

Some dogs, however, simply aren’t comfortable with big group activities, and that’s fine, too. For these pups, Green Acres recommends their VIP daycare program. VIP daycare is a customized program that focuses on activities that the dog enjoys most. These activities can be playing in a smaller group or engaging in one-on-one activities with a member of the daycare staff.

Most importantly, dogs are allowed to get comfortable with new surroundings and experiences at their own pace.

“We don’t want to overwhelm them,” says Feasel.

The Dogs Have Their Day

Check-in at Green Acres begins early every morning at 6 a.m., says Feasel. Guests are immediately taken outside for a quick potty break before getting set up in their rooms.

“Dogs get a break halfway through the day to rest, so we like to get them situated in their rooms and make sure they’re comfy before the day begins.”

After all of the guests scheduled for the day have arrived, group play kicks into high gear.

“As long as the weather is good, we try to be outside the entire time,” says Feasel. “We have kiddie pools, big shady spots for them to relax, and playground equipment designed for dog daycare. The daycare staff supervises the group, interacts with the dogs, and facilitates proper play. We help our dogs to stay active, but not overstimulated so they all have a good time.”

The Green Acres team checks the heat index every day. When it’s a scorcher, dogs split their time between short bouts of outdoor excitement and indoor activities.

The winter months, says Feasel, are handled in much the same way. “We’ll go back and forth between the outdoor and indoor play areas when it’s cold.”

For their part, VIP daycare guests receive four activities per day, which can include anything from a nature walk around the resort’s spacious 5-acres of property, a splash in the kiddie pool, or a private play session in the play yard.

“We also include some sort of enrichment for the VIP dogs,” says Feasel. “This is an entertaining, engaging activity that fosters mental stimulation. Sometimes we’ll do a puzzle toy or hide treats in their room. The idea is for them to use their brains, while still enjoying an extra activity.”

Until Tomorrow

Green Acres offers daycare from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and pickup is allowed any time before the 6 p.m. cutoff.

“If you want your dog to be at daycare the entire time, that’s perfectly fine,” Feasel says. “But there’s a little bit of flexibility for those who need to pick up early.”

Just keep in mind: your dog is likely going to want to come back as soon as possible.

Green Acres’ offers multiple veterinarian-approved dog daycare programs designed to meet the needs of your dog’s personality and breed. Right now, first-time visitors get a free day of play. Reach out to learn more.